Looking for opportunities to increase client engagement and billable hours? Consider becoming an enrolled agent (EA). EA certification is the highest tax credential awarded by the IRS. In fact, EAs are the only professionals that the U.S. government directly grants the right to practice.

The reasons to become an EA are numerous, as are the tangible benefits to your business. The ability to offer unrestricted representation, for example, is a major incentive for many professionals in the tax preparation industry. Federal law only grants EAs, licensed attorneys, and CPAs the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS without limitation. In other words, EAs can represent clients in all matters of examination, collection, and appeals before the IRS.

Another benefit of becoming an Enrolled Agent is the ability to prepare returns outside the scope of the 1040 series. If you have clients who are seeking consultation regarding estates and trusts or tax-exempt organizations, your EA coursework will prepare you to address their needs confidently — allowing you to take on a wider range of clients.

The EA credential also demonstrates to both your competition and potential clients that you’ve met a higher standard of tax competency. This goes beyond the realm of looking better on paper; your certification puts you in the position to earn up to 40% more due to the broader menu of services you’ll be able to offer.